God Jólnir

aliaksei-lepik-1224087-unsplash (1).jpg(Photo by ALIAKSEI LEPIK on Unsplash)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, when the old and the new traditions collide, and we blasphemously combine both heathen and Christian symbols in one big joyous celebration. Or at least we do here in Norway.

The suggestions that Santa Clause may have his origin as Odin is nothing new, and most definitely is an entertaining though. However, I was unaware of Jólnir being an alternative name for Odin, but he’s known by so many names that it’s almost impossible to keep track!

Anyway, according to Vera Henriksen in Christmas in Norway – Past and Present, the pre-Christian pagan winter celebration may be related to Odin who was also known as Jólnir (which apparently means “Yule figure” in old norse).

I’ve also seen some theories that Santa’s eight reindeer in fact may come from Odin’s eight-legged horse Sleipnir.  Just do a google search, there’s plenty of mentions, but I’ve yet to find any primary sources.

Another compelling and rather amusing theory about the origins of Christmas that I just recently stumbled upon the one relating the amanita muscaria, more commonly know as fly agaric or fly amanita.

It basically links some shamanic practices of ingesting this hallucinogenic mushroom to Christmas traditions and lore. And it’s so ridiculous that there very well might be something to it. Not sure if I totally buy it, but there is definitely some strange coincidences that seem a little too coincidental. You can read about it here and make up your own mind.

I will add though, as yet another interesting aside, that the vikings also were known to ingest the very same mushroom, or at least so we were taught in school (the berserkers in particular, but this doesn’t add up, as it’s not likely that the effects of the mushroom would make you angry…).

Merry Christmas!

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The Master Works of Chaos Magick – Review*

The Master Works of Chaos Magick

Practical Techniques for Directing Your Reality

By Adam Blackthorne

  • Paperback
  • 100 pages
  • Black and white printing/coloured cover
  • Published by The Gallery of Magick/CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

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I feel I need to start this off by mentioning that this probably shouldn’t be your first Chaos Magick book, however, I actually think it could bevery useful as your second, or third. Because here in you’ll find some interesting topics and techniques that you might find very helpful. Still, you really should read Liber Null by Peter Carroll and perhaps Condensed Chaos by Phil Hine first, and/or maybe some other classics, just so you get where this all originally came from. Learn the basics before you break the rules. And break the rules you definitely should. When the time is right.

Ok, so secondly, the cover is pretty cheesy, but not as cheesy as say Modern Magick for instance, so just ignore that, as there is actually are some rather intriguing information in here. Not as much as you would think though, with a title like The Master Works of Chaos Magick. That sounds way, way more grandiose than this thin book really is, but if you take a look at the subtitle, which is “Practical Techniques for Directing Your Reality”, then that gives you a better idea of what this “grimoire” is about.

And that’s just it, this really is kind of a little grimoire, or at least the last third or so. Which is neat system for working with Olympic spirits. And I truly think that’s were this release shines.

It’s a very streamlined and “simplistic” (or perhaps modernized?) system of working with Olympic spirits. To be honest, at first I was a little put off by the minimalism, but it stuck in my mind, and after rereading that chapter, I came to the conclusion that it was in fact very neat, and that there is much more depth to it than I initially thought. The author also goes on to explain the thoughts behind the distillation of this method, which helps a lot.

And if you’ve never worked with spirits before, and don’t know how to start, this is a really good introduction and it gives you all the steps in a step by step format. So step right in and step on the gas! Kick start that magick of yours with a little help from “friendly spirits“!

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Now, I’ve got to point out that I’d really like to see some sources cited. Where did all this information come from? Could we at least get a bibliography at the end? No. No such luck. This is a big pet peeve of mine, because sadly I see this mysteriously omitted all too often. Maybe it isn’t such a big deal for most people, or for the beginners that most likely is the target audience for the Master Works of Chaos Magick, but I for one would like to see what the primary sources are so that I can do my own research and do further study if I so wish. And I don’t believe I’m the only one who thinks so.

Come to think of it, I think this might have been discussed in another Gallery of Magick release**. Maybe it would be a good idea to add the same sort of explanation as an appendix or some form of notification somewhere inside.

I know that it would mean more work for the author, but I sincerely believe that a simple bibliography and/or list of sources would add a whole lot more value in the long run, not to mention the book’s longevity. Ok, rant over. At least the book isn’t long enough to warrant an index, so I don’t have to get started on that!

Anyway, this is just 100 pages of light reading, with short chapters, and it’s pretty cheap as well, so in that regard, it’s a great little book to supplement your journey into Chaos Magick. And please, don’t just sit there and read this stuff, get out and go try it out for yourself!

https://galleryofmagick.com/

*This is a highly rewritten and expanded version of this review which I previously posted somewhere else a while ago.

** Archangels of Magick – Part Ten: The Source of Angelic Power p. 295 

M.O.R.E. Tarot

Mobile Outdoor Reading Equipment

I really enjoy reading Tarot outdoors, however, this does have some challenges. Mostly having to do with wind. I’ve had cards fly off the top of my deck, and over the roof, and/or just taking off over the balcony, landing on gravel roads or in bushes. Not only is it annoying to have to run after your cards in the middle of a read, but it would suck to have the cards either get damaged or worse; lost!

So, here’s my tips, tricks and hacks:

Stones, crystals rocks, dice and coins…

I don’t know about you, but I always carry at least one small bag of gemstones with me, and not only do these look super cool and witchy, they are great for putting on top of the cards you’ve pulled so they stay in one place.

Also, it’s not uncommon for me to have a handful of dice with me, or at least somewhere nearby. These are fine substitutes for cute little card weights. Also you could devise a way for incorporating die divination alongside your standard Tarot reads (maybe I’ll get into how to do this in another post down the line). Also, dice bags are great alternatives to tarot bags, and every comic book shop tends to have them (at least here in Norway).

If you’re a witch on a budget, then just use some rocks. They’re free, and everywhere! Coins will also do in a pinch, and even bottle caps (I find these lying around on the ground all the time).

Laundry Witches are known to use cloth pins, and the office or student kind might have some paper clips handy. Just look around, I’m sure you can find something useful. Card holders, sticks, tea candles? Matchboxes or lighters? Whatever you’ve got in your bag or pocket.

Just don’t forget to put something on top of your deck as well, and not just the cards you’ve pulled!

Serving/breakfast/lap tray, a lid or a lunch box…

Get a serving tray, or something similar, with high sides. For some reason, during my tests, this worked much better than a deep wooden box. This right here really is the best solution I’ve found for reading outside. It’s just the perfect size for small to medium layouts.

The budget option is finding some kind of lid, from a shoe box or anything you’ve got lying around. If you’re just doing a one or two card spread, even a lunch box would work, as well as doubling as a stealthy container for your deck, if you are traveling undercover or you’re  are not out of the broom closet yet.

So go, step out the door, and read MORE!

And should you want more articles like this you can always help support my tarot adventures by buying me coffee. 

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Thanks!

The Ch.A.O.S. Tips

The Coffeehouse Augur’s Oracle Survival Tips

Try saying that 10 times in a row! And, yes, I know, it’s a stupid acronym, and I’m just trying to be clever and trying to make a cool sounding title, while hopefully catching your attention.

So, one of my favourite rituals is to read tarot and have a cup of coffee at the same time. Usually I’ll do this in the safety of my of home, nonetheless, on occasion I brave the great outdoors in order to spice things up a little. However, it’s not always practical to carry around all your standard cartomantic reading accessories, and sometimes you’ll either forget to bring your gear, or you just want to travel light. So what follows is some tips and observations I’ve made:

Turn on, tune in, drop out (i.e. connect)

First, always ask for the “secret” (wifi) password if it’s not written anywhere clearly visible. You never really know when you need to ride the digital broomstick, and access to the astral waves of the web will always come in handy. Like downloading tarot apps (in case you find yourself without a deck, or if you really want to be an undercover cyberpunk witch) or streaming music (see below) and looking up meanings and/or correspondences if your memory doesn’t serve you too well.

No spread cloth? No problem!

Napkins are the perfect as make-shift solution.

Is the place a little too busy and/or noisy? Consider this:

Set up a stealthy ritual space. It can sometimes be hard to get into the zone, with all the things going on in the background. But you have all the elements you need right there in front of you to help you get into the right frame of mind.

Earth: Salt packets or salt shakers, even pocket change can double as symbolic pentacles. Or you can think of the plant or flower on the table as suitable representation for this.  

AirSmell the coffee? Well, there you go!

Fire: Candles. Easy, Perhaps the hot cups of coffee too?

Water: A glass of water, as you should always remember to hydrate, and drink water. Again, the cup of coffee will do in a pinch for this.

Lastly, music!

Put on your favourite tarot reading album, and you’ll find it much easier to concentrate and get in the mood. This one’s my go-to:

Jared Ambience Inc. & Sverre Økshoff – Rats

Which is yours?

As an option, just putting in earbuds will keep some of the noise down, and also people are less likely to disturb you if they think you’re listening to something.

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The Dark Exact Tarot Guide – Review

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  • Paperback.
  • 168 pages.
  • Black and white printing (The Dark Exact Tarot is just black and white, so color would make no sense in this case).
  • Self published.

I have been an avid user of the Dark Exact Tarot, and I have been along for the journey ever since the first edition, so safe to say, I have been waiting for this guide book for a while now! That means I have had plenty of experience of using the deck without a full dedicated guide, although it does come with a pretty standard LWB (little white book).

Right off the bat I want to say that having access to this guide book really changes how you work with the Dark Exact deck. It really opens it up, and adds a great deal of depth to it. And this is a much, much, much deeper deck than I had originally thought. It is like a dark portal that transports you and your mind and to a secret place that reversals some of the mysteries hidden inside the Major and Minor Arcana of Colman’s wonderful take on the Tarot.

First of all, this book has a very nice Preface, which describes some interesting facts about designing the Dark Exact Tarot itself. I do wish it would go into even more details about the creation and the choices made, but I know there is some more information about this online and if we’re lucky, more interviews will show up in the future were Coleman talks about this. Anyway, I’m glad the preface got into this nonetheless, and it is always an important aspect to address, as it will help you understand the deck better.

The second section is called Reading The Tarot: Major and Minor Threads. It deals with ways to read tarot and the “proper” practices and the basic procedures. All good stuff. It takes a modernistic approach which I really love. It talks about letting other people touch your cards (often a big no-no) and that makes me happy. I don’t go about showing my cards to just about everybody, but if someone shows interest, I will let them touch the cards with their own hands, and I get excited it when friends and family wants to hold the cards as I talk about them. In a way, it feels very much the same as when a good friend or family member plays one of your precious instruments. You get a new perspective. You get to see (or hear) the “tool” under a different light and that might grant you valuable insight. But I digress. This chapter has a wealth of wisdom and advice for both new and old tarot readers.

Next up is the Major Arcana. The Fools Journey. This has the information of the cards themselves and their divinatory meanings. You get two pages for each card. The first page has a picture of the card itself (a little smaller in size than the physical cards) and it features stone correspondences. Now, that is not something that’s useful for me right now, but my practice both in terms of divination and magick/witchcraft is ever evolving, so I appreciate it being included. Also, a few of the pages has extra explanations of what the name of the some of the specific symbols featured on the cards are. The second page is the description of the card, which includes keywords, interpretations and reversed meanings. At first I had one gripe about this presentation… as it has a lot of wasted space, and I thought it could have been utilised a little better. However, I rapidly changed my mind as I continued reading the book and suddenly realised that this extra room was perfect for adding your own notes! A blessing in disguise. This is probably not what Coleman intended, but I actually find it to be a good thing. For me, this is very much a workbook, and the art of reading Tarot is always a work in progress, so adding your own touch and insights will make your own personal journey more meaningful and unique. And Coleman, if you are reading this, how about you make a Dark Exact add-on sticker pack to this guide? They could include additional alchemical and esoteric symbols related to the cards, general updates and even some extra few sentences per card. I would love to modify and decorate my book in this way. Just a thought.

Following this is of course the Minor Arcana. This presentation does take a slightly different approach. You get one page with a picture of the Ace, and the opposite page has a few lines about the appropriate suit with it’s alchemical elemental symbol, and beneath that are the meanings for upright and reversed positions. Then after that, it deals with three pip cards at a time, with one page presenting three cards in a row and another page with the three card descriptions. The court cards gets the same treatment, but with 4 cards instead of three. I would have liked a little more information for each card, especially because reading “pips” with no scenes or people can sometimes a little tricky for me. But what we get here is good, and it goes above and beyond the LWB. Again, there is plenty of blank space to add some notes of your own, so it is not a big deal, you just have to do some of the extra work yourself, but you should do that anyway!

Later on we get some sample spreads, both the classic ones and some new and exciting variations. Six in total. The original “Dark Exact” spreads are really interesting and it is always nice to see some different and unusual spreads to get inspired. And that is not all, because after the spreads we get treated with three sample readings. This was a very neat surprise and they are very thorough and I think they will be particularly useful to novice cartomancers, although the more experienced readers should find these fascinating as well.

At the very end there is an index, a References and Recommended Reading list and Acknowledgements. I cannot praise the author enough for including an actual index! Now, this is a small book, so the index is not that long, but it is still hugely useful to have, and I know later printings will expand on this. Also, a recommended reading and reference is a must and these last sections of the guidebook is what really brings it up to a serious and professional level. Being a bibliophile who buys way too many books on esoteric subjects, I am m all too aware of the fact that many authors of niche publications skip over this part, rendering their release rather useless in an academic sense. In no way am I an academic, but I consider myself a student (and sometimes even a teacher) so I like to know the sources of where the information came from. I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Occult and esoteric writers, take notes.

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Conclusion:

I learned something new about reading Tarot in general, not just relating to The Dark Exact deck. My feelings are that this book was written from a Tarot reader’s perspective and from someone’s personal experience over a long period of time, and that the deck was primarily made to be practical and highly functional as opposed to just a design project from the artist. This is real Tarot, real Magick, real Witchcraft, and definitely NOT style over substance. My experience up until this point, having worked with the Dark Exact deck for way over a year, is that this peculiar deck is MUCH deeper than I initially though. Straight out of the box, it always lived up to its name; Exact. It has been very exact and has cut right to the chase, but it sometimes left me feeling that it couldn’t quite reach the depths of some of the other decks I regularly use. However, after having read this guide, I can see that impression was wrong, and I have now gained a brand new appreciation of Coleman’s wonderful Tarot. This even has the potential to become a modern classic in my humble opinion. With a guidebook as good as this, I can’t see why not!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheDarkExact

https://www.instagram.com/darkexact/

 

Red Pill/Blue Pill – Tarot Spread

The Red Pill/Blue Pill Tarot Spread

This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the redpill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more.

– Morpheus

Inspired by the Neon Moon Tarot, and its cyberpunk themes, I came up with this weird little variant of a tarot spread…

This Tarot spread is for when you a feeling a little bit like Alice… for when you’ve tumbled down a rabbit hole, and you’re out of your depth. Or maybe you’re lost in the woods somewhere… and you can’t find your way back home, or see the forest for all the scary trees? Perhaps you’re in a pickle, or just are faced with a tough decision. Could just be you need a reality check.

A wake up call.

Think about your question. Feel it. Shuffle your deck. Focus on your query. Stop when you feel like you’re ready for your naked lunch*. Do whatever you usually do before you deal the cards (cut the deck etc.). Pick the top two.

1. The first card is the Red Pill:

It represents Knowledge, Freedom and the Brutal Truth of Reality.

2. The second card is the Blue Pill:

It stands for Security, False Happiness and Blissful Ignorance of Illusion.

How does this relate to your situation? Is it a tough pill to swallow? Make your choice now. Do you take The Red Pill, or do you take the Blue Pill?

Whatever you choose is up to you, but don’t take it too lightly. Put the card you chose somewhere where you can see it. Maybe take a drink of water as a symbolic act. Return the other card to the deck. Go about your day.

*Naked lunch; a frozen moment when everyone sees what is on the end of every fork.

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21 + 1 The Fortune Teller’s Rules – Review

21 + 1: The Fortune Teller’s Rules

read like the devil manifestos

edited by Camelia Elias

fortuneteller-front

  • Paperback.
  • 180 pages.
  • Black and white printing.
  • EyeCorner Press

“Read like the Devil”  I’ve heard Camelia say. Here we even have the catchphrase in the subtitle. Well, this reads just like the devil is whispering all the secrets, all the tricks of the trade, into your eager ear. You don’t even have to sell your soul, all you need to do is buy this book! And it’s not even that expensive. Bang for the buck, as they say.

In a nutshell, it’s a collection of essays. Each of the 38 contributors presents 21 + 1 of their personal “rules” when it comes to divination with cards, specifically the Tarot.

Jack in and download. Before you know it you’ll say “I know kung fu”!

Or perhaps something more like “I know card-fu”. This is martial arts cartomancy.

It’s just the right amount of crazy, wild, profound and energetic. I can go on and on, and I will; poetic, stimulating, funny. and thought provoking. A treasure trove for those wanting to dive deeper down into the art of divination. One word: Inspiring. 

So get out your pencils and/or marker pens out, because this is filled with gems you’d want to highlight. Actually, it would kind of be easier to just mark the sentences that aren’t pure gold! But even most of them are pretty good as well.

However, after a while it tends to get a little repetitive. 

I think it would be best to read it in a few chunks at a time, as I think I got a little overexcited and read one third of the book in rapid fire fashion in one sitting. So learn from my mistake, and space it out. Contemplate. Mediate. Think. Absorb. 

Although it’s put out by a small publisher (EyeCorner Press), it does look a little bit like a self-published book, which is a shame, because a better looking book, with better typography and better formatting would make everything stand out even more. Also, the pages are very transparent, resulting in a very “noisy” and distracting reading experience.. Very distracting. Still, it’s a minor concern. 

All in all, it’s a goldmine, and you’ll become a much better card reader after reading it. That is, if you read like the devil 😉

More information and where to buy:

http://www.eyecornerpress.com/211-the-fortune-tellers-rules/

Metro Magick – Review

Metro Magick

By Lorne Cross

  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • Edition: 1st.
  • Printing: Black and white with colour cover.
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Released: March 11, 2016

 

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This is a short book, with just 88 pages, so I’ll try to keep this review relatively short as well. Not only is it pretty slim, it’s also smallish enough to easily fit into your bag or backpack or whatever without taking up much space. I personally love to take books with me when I’m out and about, but sometimes these magick tomes can be rather big and heavy. Anyway, I also think this paperback looks stealthy and undercover enough to be read out in public (if that is a concern of yours), on a train, a bus, subway, or cafe without causing suspicion by non-practitioners. 

First of all I’ll say that I really enjoyed Metro Magick. I used to live in the city and have done my fair share of city magick in my time there. And while I am currently living in a small town (village actually) in the country side, that is only a temporary relocation and hopefully I will get back to the big city life sooner or later. I’ve been feeling particularly stuck lately, so I discovered this weird little book just at the perfect period of my life, and it has made me dream of the concrete jungle once again.

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The book itself has no writing on the spine, which could prove to be annoying if you have an extensive esoteric library, making it difficult to locate. I’m sure I’m not the only one having problems with disappearing books. Sometimes they seem to have a life of their own, hiding away but also showing up just at the right moment. Yeah, books can be strange. 

This is a of self published, print on demand release,  but the actual quality of the book itself is very good. In addition, there is some weird sentence structures here and there, and a lack of proof reading and editing, so it appears a little clunky in some places, but it’s not too bad. Information is still excellent and the points comes across.

It does mention his other book Occult Magick, so perhaps some of this material would benefit from reading that one first, especially if you’re new to these kinds of things it would prove to be helpful, as this is not a beginners manual.  

There is about 9+ spells and/or variations of spells in here, if memory serves me right that is… Thankfully they are given in such a way that it makes it easy to adapt and modify them for your own use, which is always a nice thing. There’s also some cool ideas for magical tools in here too, like using your drivers licence as a wand for instance!

All in all, I highly recommend this for my fellow urban witchcraft and magick practitioners. It’s a quick and fun read, with heaps of inspiration and ideas for you to play with and/or customise for your own modern magical practice.

Surprisingly, you can actually find this as an audiobook on audible.

Here’s a handful of bonus books that you might want to check out if this is your cup of tea magick:

City Magick by Christopher Penczak (2001)

Post-Modern Magick by Seth (2004)

Postmodern Magic: The Art of Magick in the Information Age by Patrick Dunn (2005)